When I view the world, I view it through physics.

Joshua Hellerick '18
Photo by Tim Sofranko

"I've wanted to become a physicist since I was in elementary school. I would watch the Science Channel and thought it sounded so cool. When teachers asked us 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' I quite literally wrote down 'theoretical astrophysicist.' When I view the world, I view it through physics. It is something that always has happened in my head and I didn't even realize it until I came to Bucknell and became a student in the physics department.

"The Bucknell physics department is incredible. All physics professors ask their students to call them by their first names. Any student, even a prospective student, is on a first name basis with professors. This personal relationship and the small class sizes really make you feel at home. That's what I love about the department.

"As a Presidential Fellow, I have the opportunity to do research with Professor Ben Vollmayr-Lee. We are studying the presence of something called the anomalous dimension. It is very interesting factor in physics. I use a highly optimized research code to learn more about a system of different chemical reactions. I am then able to analyze the results of the simulation and gather information about the system. I've been working on this research for just over two years and have stayed on campus over the summer to work on it. We have made a ton of progress.

"I've benefited from studying physics in a liberal arts setting. I also study German language and culture. I took German 101 in my first semester at Bucknell and I fell in love with the language. As I continued taking courses in both subjects, I discovered that a lot of the physics terminology has roots in German. The word 'ansatz,' for example, was originally German. I've learned that the modern Western physics tradition is deeply rooted in Germany. It is so rewarding for me to see the overlap between these two disciplines."

Joshua is from Center Valley, Pa.

Meet more students at Bucknell Student Stories.

Posted 12/13/2016


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